Tonight we come back to the sixth chapter of Genesis. I’m having such a wonderful time, finding myself spending extended times of study, longer times of study than I might normally spend because I get so wrapped up in what I’m learning in the book of Genesis. And trying to condense it all down and get a message to you that conveys something of the greatness of this book.
We come to the sixth chapter and verse 13 and this section runs all the way down to verse 22. I’ve titled it “The Life that Escapes Divine Judgment”. We already know from the first 12 verses of Genesis 6 that God is going to destroy the world. That is what the text says. That message hasn’t really been given yet to anybody in that world before the flood; it is simply the first 12 verses written by the writer of Genesis telling us that the judgment is coming. Nothing in the first 12 verses tells us how the judgment is going to come or if in fact anyone is going to escape it. But we find in verses 13-22 that the judgment indeed will come, it will come through the means of water, a flood, and there will be eight souls who will escape.
And as verses 13-22 unfold for us this escape from divine judgment we learn some very, very profound and important and confirming lessons. Repeatedly the Bible says that God the eternal and holy creator and sustainer of the universe acts in history in two ways: one, He judge’s sinners, two, He rescues sinners from judgment. Essentially that’s the story of Scripture; that’s the story of redemption. And that is the story of history. Sinners are either judged or they are delivered from judgment and that is the dual theme of the Bible, of biblical history, of the creation of man in Genesis to the destruction of man in Revelation.
There are just two kinds of people in the world, there are those who will be judged by God and there are those who will be rescued from judgment by God. The New Testament is filled with new promises and warnings and so is the Old Testament. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament tell about final judgment. The final judgment of God on the world and both the Old and the New Testament also tell about the fact that God will rescue souls from judgment. So simply stated, the history of man is inextricably moving toward final judgment. And along the way sinners, by God’s grace and purpose, are being rescued from that judgment.
Now to understand what final judgment will be like we come to this amazing judgment in Genesis 6-9, which is the section that describes the flood. Because here you have a worldwide catechismic judgment that wipes out all of humanity and that is essentially the preview of the final judgment of history. In fact in the New Testament, in the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 24:37-39, recorded again in Luke 17:26-30, the Lord Himself with His own mouth describes the future judgment of the coming of the Son of Man as being like the judgment of the days of Noah. And the apostle Peter you will remember writing in 2 Peter 2 and 3, also describes the future judgment; the holocaust of the uncreation or destruction of the universe as being like the judgment of God in the days of Noah.
So the Lord and the apostles and the writing of the New Testament made sure that we made the connection. If you want to understand what the final holocaust of judgment is going to be like the best view is given to you in Genesis 6-9. As we’ve been learning, about 1650 years into human history, the flood came. Just a millennium and a half or a little more and God destroyed the human race, drowning them all and that was the model for what he will do in the end, not by water but by fire. We are now 4500 years plus past the flood and that judgment has not yet come but it will. Now we’ve been learning, as we’ve studied the book of Genesis, that even professed Christians have rejected the clear teaching of Genesis. We know that there are many who call themselves Christians who profess Christ and many who actually are Christians who reject the Genesis account of six day creation. In its place they put some kind of evolutionary scheme. And there are also many who call themselves Christians and some who are who reject the biblical record of a world wide flood. I’m not going to drag you through all of the comments of these people but there are many Bible teachers and theologians that reject the idea that God drowned the whole world and they want to make the flood a somewhat local flood less devastating than Scripture indicates.
It is a sad thing that professing Christians can’t accept the word of God at face value but they can’t. However the more you study the book of Genesis the more clear it is how wrong they are. And to understand this judgment as a global judgment all you need to do is hear the words of Jesus who describes the judgment at His return as like the flood. Or the words of the inspired writer Peter who describes the coming of the Son of Man and that great judgment in which the universe dissolves as being previewed in the judgment of the flood. Not only is Genesis clear but references back to the flood account in Genesis are equally clear as to the extent of this flood being a world wide flood that becomes the single greatest illustration of the coming judgment of God in the end which will in fact destroy the whole world. The lesson of the flood then is that God will destroy all who rebel against Him even if it means the whole human race. But in that destruction he will save those who trust him even they are only eight.
A couple of weeks ago gave you a two part series on Sunday mornings on are the heathens really lost. We talked about the new wave of theology that basically says that people all over the world who never hear the Bible, read the Bible or hear the gospel, know the gospel or believe the gospel are going to be saved because God is just too kind. He’s just too merciful; He’s too nice to destroy all these people. Well if you think that’s true then you have a very difficult time explaining how God drowned the entire world in the time of Noah and saved only eight. But it is true that in judgment God always distinguishes between the wicked and the righteous. He did so in Egypt. He gave instruction about putting blood from the Passover lamb on the door posts, the side pieces and the cross piece and if they put the blood there that the angel of death would pass by and those people would who are obedient, demonstrating their righteousness were passed by and not slaughtered when the first born in each house was killed. And God many times distinguished in the life of Israel between the righteous and the wicked bringing death on the people but never completely destroying them. And there are comments to that effect in Jeremiah 5, AmosChapter 9, where God says, “I have destroyed you but not all of you.”
And there is that that wonderful promise that the end of the Old Testament. In the book of Malachi, starting in chapter 3:16 where you have the discussion about judgment and then you come into chapter 4 and the righteous are saying what about us, what about us. and the Lord reminds them that through the profit that God will remember them, that God knows who they are and that God has a book in which their names are written and He will not forget them.
Even our Lord Jesus spoke of this distinguishing in judgment. He said that the Father had committed all judgment to Him in John 5 and he said, “There’s going to come a great judgment and there will be after that judgment a resurrection and it will be the resurrection of the just and the unjust.” The resurrection unto life and a resurrection unto damnation. God always distinguishes. That’s very important because that’s comfort for those of us who belong to Him.
Paul wrote about the same things in Romans 2. He said in the end God is going to look at a life and He’s going to look at the work in that life, the behavior in that life and on the basis of what He sees He will be able to determine whether or not that person has been regenerated. And those people who have manifested patterns and the works of regeneration will receive hone and those who have not will receive condemnation. He has the same distinction being made in 2 Thessalonians where the promise is that God will come in the form of the sun, enflaming fire, reeking retribution on all who know not God and obey not the gospel but it will happen in the day when the Lord preserves His own.
So this is the pattern. This is the pattern all through Scripture. God judges the ungodly but in the midst of judgment always discerns, distinguishes and rescues His own. The story of the Bible, the story of redemption and therefore the story of human history is the story of judgment and mercy. It’s the story of wrath and grace. It’s the story of destruction and preservation. This is human history; this is biblical history. For the one who believes in God you can make a claim on the great promise of Psalm 91:7 which says, “A thousand may fall at your side and 10,000 may fall at your right hand but it will not come near you.” Those of you who belong to the Lord, everybody around you may be dropping under the fury of God’s wrath but not you. Those who are the Lord’s are like those Jews, 12,000 from every tribe described in the book of Revelation 7:2 as being sealed. The Lord knows who are His. Jesus said in John 10, “I know my sheep, my sheep know me.”
By the time you come to the life of Noah humanity was consummately and constantly wicked. So wicked down to the very intense of the heart that God decided to destroy all humanity but not without distinction. He had a perfect knowledge of who was to be protected in that judgment. So having determined that He will destroy He informed Noah of the fact that He was going to destroy the entire world but spare Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives. And through them, through that preservation, preserved the human race and therefore preserved His original promise to Adam to fill the earth and to enjoy all that God had created.
Now how is God going to protect Noah and his family in this holocaust? The answer to that is the subject of the text before us. And what you have here is a real historical account but you also have a wonderful picture of how God rescues His own in the midst of judgment. Nowhere, by the way, in this account does Noah ever say anything. He doesn’t speak in chapter six, he doesn’t speak in chapter seven, he doesn’t speak in chapter eight, he doesn’t speak in chapter nine until the flood has come and gone. And when he does finally speak the first words that are recorded to come out of his mouth are a curse on his grandson Canaan. And what we learn from the fact you go through these chapters and he never says anything is that this is all about God not about Noah. This is all about sovereign purpose. This is all about the almighty, holy God acting, judging, saving. Noah never says anything but he is a player and an actor in this story. Although he doesn’t say anything he does everything God commands him to do. And therein give evidence of that righteousness which had been granted by God to him and that transformation of his heart made him and obedient lover of God.
Now let’s look at the text. And first of all we’re gonna be reminded of the reason for judgment, the reason for judgment. All of this has already been recorded by the writer Moses in the first 12 verses inspired by God to write down the fact that the sin was everywhere, God saw the sin and God was going to judge. But now for the first time God speaks about it and He speaks to Noah. “Then God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me for the earth is filled with violence because of them and behold I’m about to destroy them with the earth.'” Now as I said it has already been stated in verses one to 12 by the writer but here God speaks for the first time personally to Noah. And in this section, chapter six, seven, eight and nine, God gives four speeches. This is the first one, the next one comes in 7:1, “Then the Lord said to Noah,” you can see it there. The next one comes in 8:15, “Then God spoke to Noah saying.” And then 9:1, “God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them,” so God does all the talking. God does all the acting. This is all about God, all about sovereignty, all about the divine carrying out His great purpose.
But God takes Noah into His confidence personally telling Noah of the coming of divine judgment. He tells Noah in verse 13 about His holy outrage essentially over mankind’s wickedness and rebellion and violence. And he prepares Noah with that statement to understand why the judgment will come. Having heard this from God Noah doesn’t have to ask. God says, “The end of all flesh has come before Me because the earth is filled with violence because of them.” It’s a violent world; it’s a world that God has determined to destroy. And the only response that Noah has through the whole account is to do exactly what God tells him to do. The extent of the judgment is universal against those who will say it was a localized flood. Very clearly, “the end of all flesh has come before me,” that’s the end of humanity. All flesh. That little phrase has come before me as sort of a Hebraic way of saying something is determined. It’s an idiom, I have determined, I have made the decision; I have decided I have set; I have fixed this purpose to execute the death penalty on the world.
And as I told you 1650 years into human history there could have been upwards of 7 billion people on the earth. Now remember, people lived to be 900 plus years of age. Methuselah 969 years. Population growth was exponential. I don’t have to do exponential mathematics to tell you how fast that could multiply. Just to give you a simple illustration in 1850 in the United States we had a billion people. By 1930 we had 2 billion people. By 1950 we had 3 billion people – in the world I’m saying not in the United States. In 1850 we had 1 billion, 1930 2 billion, 1950 3 billion, today 6 billion. So in 150 years you go from 1 billion to 6 billion, that’s exponential, and people are not living 900 years. The numbers multiply you can only imagine in a time before there were birth control devices population was explosive and the destruction therefore was massive. Massive.
No more option. God has made His determination. The language is similar to that of Amos 8:2 where we read, “The end has come for my people, Israel. I will spare them no longer.” That’s it. It is fixed. It is set. And the reason? The earth is filled with violence. That’s defined for us in the first four verses; people were communing with demons, demon possessed men cohabitating with women who were open to demons under the illusion that some how they could produce a super race that would be a God like and escape the low levels of human existence and even escape the judgment of God and perhaps death. That was the lie the demons were probably telling them. On top of that, verse 5 you have the wickedness of men great on the earth. Every intent or imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil continually.” Verse 11, “The earth corrupt and the side of God filled with violence.” Again verse 12, “Corrupt on all flesh, corrupted their way on the earth.” And so the retribution is just; that’s the end. I am about to destroy them together with the earth, He says, together with the earth.
And you’ll learn as we go through the flood account not only were people drowned by the entire structure of the earth was dramatically altered. To give you a little hint of what’s coming; the continents as we know them now weren’t the way they are prior to the flood. You can only imagine what happened in India, 7.9 earthquake, well that would be a small bump, small speed bump compared the reshaping of the face of the planet and the destruction of the entire human race. So that is what is coming, that is the retribution of God and the reason for it is because of man’s sin.
From the reason we go to the rescue and this is what we look at in verses 14-16. Now I’m going to get you a little bit into details here becuase I have a purpose in mind and that is to strengthen your confidence in the Scripture. And you’ll see that as we go. God knows the heart of Noah. He knows that Noah and his family are righteous. He knows His own purpose for them and so He tells Noah to do something. It’s quite remarkable. Now remember he hasn’t said anything about a flood yet. He hasn’t said anything about water. And Noah built a boat a boat in the middle of the land, out where there wasn’t a sea. And he didn’t know when God told him to build a boat about a flood. Notice how the Lord began with him, “Make for yourself and arc of gopher wood,” it isn’t even a boat. He doesn’t use the term for boat or ship. He says make yourself an arc of gopher wood. You shall make the arch with rooms or compartments and cover it inside and out with pitch. And this is how you shall make it, the length of the arch 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, its height 30 cubits. You shall make a window for the arc and finish it to a cubit from the top and set the door of the arch in the side of it. You shall make it with lower, second and third decks. Now He starts by telling him to make an arc.
Now you need to understand the word arc. It’s the word tebahin Hebrew. It means a box. Make a big box. Noah knew what a boat was and a boat – boats have always been built similarly; they have sloped sides and a curved bottom. That’s not what God told him to build. He said build a box. Build a box. Just a big rectangular, wooden box. A chest might be another way to view it. Not shaped like a boat; not shaped like a ship. It wasn’t designed to sail and it wasn’t designed to be propelled. It didn’t need to have a thinned bow to cut through the water when it was being propelled by oars as they were in ancient times or propelled by the wind in the sail because it wasn’t going to be propelled. It was a cruise to nowhere. There wasn’t anywhere to go. It was only designed to float. There were no oars, there were no sails, there was no pilot, there was no captain, there was no steering wheel, there was rudder, there was no navigator. It was just a box.
Now this word arc is rarely used in the Old Testament. Only one other time, one other time. And the other time it was used was in the second chapter of Exodus. Now what we have here is the story of Moses. Moses. In order to protect Moses from being killed by the Egyptians his mother had hidden him for a long time but couldn’t do it any longer, verse 3 says, “So she got him a wicker arc,” same word. “A little box made out of reeds and covered it over with tar and pitch. She put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile.” It’s the same thing. It’s a little chest. And his sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.” They didn’t know. There wasn’t any guidance system on it, it wasn’t a remote control box, it was just there in the river. And you remember the story; the daughter of the Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile with her maidens walking alongside. She saw the arc, same word – only other use in the Old Testament – among the reeds, sent her maid and brought it to her and you know the story from there. The little reed basket that floated Moses above the water.
In both cases the arcs were a refuge from death by drowning. Provided to two pretty outstanding men. Noah, who was to be a father of a new humanity and Moses who was to be a father of a new nation as it were. Noah who was to lead his people into a new world and Moses who was to lead his people into a new world. Two believers, two preachers, two leaders of a new people. Each of them preserved above the waters of drowning by an arc. Noah was God’s instrument to save humanity and Moses was God’s instrument to save Israel.
When you’re probably thinking, what about the arc of the covenant? Different word is used. A different word. The word is Aronnot tebah.
So this word arch is reserved for two remarkable water preservations of two very remarkable men who were delivered from drowning by God’s gracious provision to introduce a new day in a new world and sustain the life of God’s people. The material, by the way, back to Genesis 6 was gopher wood. We have no idea what that is. Some people think it was some kind of cypress tree, some people think it was some kind of cedar pine; we don’t know what it was. Now building a box is one thing. Building a ship is another. You couldn’t build a ship unless you were a ship builder. The curves and the angles are extremely complex to build a ship. And by the way, to build a ship this size had never been done. Nobody had built a ship that big. This is massive. And Noah was not a ship builder. But this wasn’t a ship. I mean the plan was pretty simple; make it 300 cubits long, make it 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high and that’s it. There’s no angles, no curves, just a box.
But what is remarkable about this is a couple of things. One, this was an immense task. That is a huge rectangle made out of wood. Now we don’t have any idea whether Noah was a carpenter or whether his sons might have been carpenters who could cut the boards and lay them together in tongue and groove fashion and put wooden pegs and seal it all. It’s unlikely the family itself could build anything that huge so he probably employed a group of people who were skilled in that craft. And then the Lord said, He gets a little more complicated, when you go inside because I want you to make rooms in there, compartments or apartments, thousands of them. And I want you to put those rooms on a series of decks indicated there in verse 16 as the lower deck, the second deck and third deck. And then I want you to caulk it with pitch. I don’t know what the substance was; pitch is a word in Hebrew related to the verb smear. So whatever you smear on there to caulk it up that’s what you use.
Now let’s look a little bit more closely at this in verse 15. It has to be 300 cubits by 50 cubits by 30 cubits. A cubit is about 18 inches. So this is 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. It’s a rectangle with flat bottom, flat sides and flat ends. Not for movement; not for speed. I want you to understand that’s maybe large by our standards of huge, massive, ocean going ships today but let me put it in perspective for you. The arc is the largest floating vessel ever built until the 19thcentury. They couldn’t even build boats that big, never did until steel and iron became the material for building ships and that happened in the 19thcentury. In 1858 the largest ship ever built was launched by the P&O line, it was called the Hymaleah. It was 240 feet long and 35 feet wide. Later that year there was a massive ship by those standards of the time built called the Great Eastern; 692 feet long. More than double the longest that had ever been built apart from the arc. Six-hundred-ninety-two feet long, 83 feet wide and 30 feet high; it was 19,000 tons. It as five times the tonnage of any ship every built. So big a leap from the Hymaleah, at 240 feet long to 692 – well more than double almost 700 feet – so huge was that leap from normal sized ships that even 40 years after the Great Eastern was built there was no ship that even came close to its size.
So they didn’t build ships as big as the arc until the 19thcentury. You say, “Well what’s the importance of that?” Well the importance of that is that nobody would just decide to build something that big. It was unheard of. No one would imagine or expect something so huge. They were building little wooden boats, little wooden ships for the oceans of that time. In 1844 the man who had built the Great Eastern a man by the name of Brunelbuilt the Great Britain and it was 322 by 51 feet by 32 feet. Now the reason I’m giving you some of this, you start to see a pattern here. And what they learned by the time they built ship after ship after ship through human history is that it’s critical that if a ship is to be stable in the water it has a certain ratio. And it’s still the standard for large ships. And the ratios are from 6:1 to 8:1, that is 6:1 or 8:1 in length to width. That’s provides the best stability and even to this very day the 6:1 to 8:1 ratio is standard for building a ship. Well it’s interesting that the arc was 6:1. Noah not being a ship builder and nobody ever having seen anything that big float could have imagined that was maximum, optimum stability.
Henry Morris who is an engineer and a scientist concluded that the arc would have had to have been turned completely vertical before it could be tipped over. It was so stable. It’s relative length six times greater than its width would tend to keep it from being subjected to wave forces because wave forces aren’t that long. And even if it got sideways there was no single wave force that would hit the total ship. Furthermore it would tend rather than going through the waves to ride with the waves and because of the sheer weight of it with all of its occupants it would be virtually impossible to turn it over. As a rectangle it had more stability than any other form of construction. A ship has a rounded bottom to move it through the water but that makes it vulnerable. A square bottom sunk down is almost impossible to overturn no matter how great the waves. Also it gives it a third more cargo capacity than a similar ship with a sloping hull. And the gross tonnage of the arc could be calculated; it would be 14,000 tons. Its internal space a 100,000 square feet. And its total volume, 1.5 million cubic feet.
Now let me just give you a comparison. It has been calculated that the capacity of the arc is equivalent to 522 boxed cars. You watch the box cars go by on the train tracks. Five-hundred-twenty-two boxed cars. Somebody figured out years ago that you could get 240 sheep in a boxed car. So if you had 522 boxed cars with 240 sheep you’d have a total of 125,000 animals. Sheep are probably larger than the average animal on the arc and they probably didn’t take two full grown giraffes if you were wondering, or full grown hippos and elephants. But sheep are probably larger than the average would be so you had at least the room for 125,000 different animals. Gives you some idea of the immense capacity of the ship. And then the building of thousands of compartments provided little places for all of the animals to stay.
The arc was sufficiently, according to calculations, large enough to carry two of every species of air breathing animal in the world. I’m talking about in the world today. And you could do it on half the deck space. And the rest was for Noah and his family. And five additional pairs of animals, we’ll find out later, who were designed for sacrifice.
Now only/ supernatural revelation would know how many animals there were, how much capacity was needed and what the best structure was for a floating box. Only God would have the concept of building something so massive to float. It was 120 years before the flood came. We don’t know exactly at what speed they worked in building the boat or how long it took but it was 120 years before the flood came.
This to me is a wonderful evidence of the confidence building of the integrity of the inspired character of Scripture. If Moses had invented the flood story, if somebody else had invented the flood story they never would have imagined or designed a ship that never could have been conceived by anybody in the ancient world. There’s a Babylonian flood story and the ship in their flood legend is a little square, a cube; well a cube would be a disaster in any kind of rough water. They never could have designed this from any experience they had. But God told Noah to build a barge essentially. A flat bottom barge with no rudder; the Lord would be the rudder. And everybody in the family was going on a cruise. A cruise with no ports. And the cruise was gonna last 371 days. Now some of you would like to go on a cruise for 371 days but not in a barn. And there’s some relief, and this is good to know, verse 16, “You should make a window.” I hope so. Ventilation would become critical, critical.
What are we talking about here? You say you have this whole arc, what was this a little window up there? Well the word soharis used here and it’s used over in chapter 8:6 at the end of the 40 days the window of the arc was opened. Remember the rain came down, came down, came down for 40 days and then the rain stopped. By that time the earth was so flooded that they were there for a year before the floods completely subsided. We don’t know the origin of the word. It seems to connect with some ancient sources meaning light. Some have tried to translate that what he is saying here is that you should make a covering. Well that’s obvious. I mean the Lord wouldn’t tell him make a box and then tell him it’s gonna pour rain and there’s gonna be a flood and not tell him to make a roof; that’s obvious. That’s probably not a good option; that would be very apparent. It’s better to see it as the way it is translated and that’s why they’ve chosen to translate it this way as window or better an opening. Really not a window we think of with glass but a skylight. And if you go a little further down you begin to see the purpose of it. Verse 16, “You finish it to a cubic from the top.” So you got the roof on the top, probably at some kind of pitch so that the water goes rolling off, and where the roof comes out and extends past the sides of the arc there is an opening 18 inches. Literally ventilation all the way around the arc is probably the best way to understand it. It was under the overhang and could be covered with some material during the rain. And that material could then be rolled up or removed when the rain had stopped. So they would literally be 18 inch, a foot and a half, opening all the way around ventilating that entire arc, interrupted only by the posts that were holding up the roof. Providing light, providing ventilation.
And then they are told also, Noah is told, that he has the responsibility to make a door. The middle of verse 16, “Set the door of the arc, just one door, in the side of it.” Many people have seen this as an analogous to the Lord Jesus Christ who is the door. But the real analogy is not with the door but the analogy that is made in the New Testament Apostles, in Peter’s Apostles, is that Christ is the arc. It’s true he’s the only door but he is the arc of safety and judgment. But anyway, one door easily closed and secured. You know there are reasons for that. You want minimize any possible leakage, any possible disaster and with one door constantly watched and monitored and appropriately secured you have a simpler security situation. And they only needed one door and once they shut it, they shut it because nobody was going to get off the ship, they never pulled into port. Then he tells them also in verse 16 to make three decks, the lower deck already there and then the second and the third decks, this provides sufficient space, sufficient compartments for all the animals.
So Noah is getting this instruction about bringing – he doesn’t know about animals yet; he hasn’t heard that but we do. He just is told to build this big box. And the Lord then tells him why. He’s given him the reason for judgment, He’s provided him the rescue from judgment and now He tells him of the means of judgment, verse 17. Here’s why, “Behold, I, even I,” again God is acting here, God is speaking, God is judging, this is all about God, “I, even I, am bringing the flood of water upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which the breath of life from under heaven, everything that is on the earth shall perish.” And here it becomes clear to Noah why he’s building this monstrous rectangle in a sealess land. “And behold I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth.” Here is the introduction of the word flood. Flood. Mabule. It is a technical term used only in Genesis 6-9 to describe this massive, worldwide deluge. It refers exclusively to the Genesis flood. It is only used one other time in all the Old Testament, just one other time. God reserved this word and the one other time that it’s used is in Psalm 29:10, “The Lord sat as King at the flood.” In a reference back to this event. So this is a unique word, an isolated word used only for this flood. This is the flood of all floods, such a flood that the word cannot even be applied to any other kind of water disaster.
This flood, the Lord says he’s bringing on the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life. Did you understand that there are some animals that don’t breathe air? Where are they? In the water. And again the Scripture is very specific. The Lord is going to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life. Chapter 7:22 or 21, “And all flesh that moved on the earth perished. Birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth and all mankind of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life died.” So this is limited to those breathing animals, all air breathing creatures. Further specified as being under heaven. Under heaven, excluding those who are under the water. All those who are under the heaven above, the air, and who breath that air are going to be destroyed.
And he says it again at the end of verse 17, “Every thing that is on the earth shall perish.” Now how can you read something like that and conclude there is going to be a local flood? Another clear indication that this is not a local flood.
I was looking at a paper that said proof of the universal flood; it was two sides of an 8 ½ X 11 and there were about 75 references in these four chapters that make it impossible to conclude anything other than this was global. It refers – I’ll sum them up, I wont’ give you all of them. It speaks of the death of humanity. I just read you from 7:22, “All that was on dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life died.” Verse 23, “Thus he blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land or the face of the earth.” And it was worldwide. It refers to the same thing again in other verses throughout this chapter. Verse 24, “The water prevailed upon the earth.” The death of humanity. Another reason we believe it’s a worldwide flood is because of the depth of the flood. The flood was at least above Mt. Arrowrat; it covered all the mountains and Mt. Arrowratis 17,000 feet high. You can’t have a local flood 17,000 feet high. The calculations are gonna spread that water over the whole earth. The duration of the flood; it lasted a total of 371 days. The geology of the flood; study geology. All of over the globe and you find evidences of the flood. The theology of the flood. Verse Peter 3:20, “God drowned the whole world and saved eight souls,” Peter said. Peter calls the earth the world that perished. Furthermore the escapology of the flood. Jesus said when the Son of Man comes it’s going to be like it was when the flood came. The Son of Man comes he will destroy the whole word of the ungodly and that’s exactly what happened in the flood.
So whether you’re looking at the death of humanity in a worldwide scale, whether you’re looking at the depth of the flood, the duration of the flood, the geology of the flood, the theology of the flood, the escapology of the flood, it is a world wide flood. So you have the reason, the deliverance, the means, fourthly the promise. And this is the good news in the flood. The Lord says in verses 18-21, “I will establish my covenant with you and you shall enter the arc, you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.” And they have already been identified for us back in verse 10; three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives you’re going to enter into this arc. And again, as I said at the start, judgment is not indiscriminate it is discriminating; God knows exactly who is to be judged and who is not. We already, going back to verse 8 know that Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. In verse 9 he was a righteous man and blameless in his time. We know from chapter 7:1 that God said, “For you alone I have seen to be righteous before me in this time.” And here God says in verse 18 I’m gonna establish my covenant with you. You’re the only man, the only family on earth that I can establish my covenant with. And here is the model person who escapes judgment.
And what are the marks of this man? Can I just give them to you simply? He was chosen by grace. Back in verse 8, “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. The Lord looked over the earth and determined to be gracious to Noah.” He was chosen by God. He was justified because it says in verse 9, “He was righteous. No man has righteousness of his own. He was granted righteousness by faith.” He was sanctified, he was a man who was blameless in his time by regeneration he lived a blameless life. And he walked with God. You have here election, you have here justification, you have here sanctification and you also have preservation for the future; sort of a picture of glorification here in verse 18 when God says I’m going to establish my covenant with you and while I destroy the whole world I will give you a future.
God says I am going to make a promise through you. That’s what a covenant is. First time it’s used by the way, first time for the word covenant in the Bible. Twenty-seven times the word covenant appears in Genesis 8 around the flood and 16 in the Abraham narratives. God is making promises and here is a wonderful promise that God says I’m gonna make with Noah. That covenant is described in the ninth chapter. We’ll wait to get there to see what all that covenant is about. But it’s the first covenant officially given in the Bible and it is a covenant as you know never to destroy the world again by water. And we’ll look at that when we get to the ninth chapter.
But what God is saying to him is I’m going to give you a future. I’m going to give you a promise and through you that promise can be carried to generations to come. Through you I’m going to fulfill my original pledge, my original plan when God blessed Adam and Eve and said, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it and rule.” I’m going to fulfill that promise to Adam through you.
Now I want you to know something about this covenant. It is not bilateral. No one ever says a word. No one ever does anything. He doesn’t sign anything. He doesn’t pledge anything. He doesn’t promise anything. This is a unilateral promise that God makes that’s why it is God saying, “I will establish My covenant with you.” My barith, my promise, and the promise of the future and a hope through you. Some call a covenant a royal grant in which God binds Himself by promise not by mutual agreement. My covenant. God sovereignly, independently, unilaterally obligates Himself to save the family of Noah and to pledge to never drown the world again. That’s His promise; makes no demands on Noah to do anything to validate or void that promise.
Here is the kind of man that God makes promises to, here is a chosen man, here is a justified man, here is a sanctified man and here is a man given the promise of a future. That’s the kind of person still God will spare from judgment. Those upon whom He looks with grace and favor, those to whom He grants righteousness, those who are sanctified and those who are living in the hope of a glorious future. In other words believers such as Noah.
Then in verse 19, “And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every kind into the arc to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Every living thing of all flesh.” The language here sounds a lot like the creation language of Genesis 1. Now remember the animals – today we think of animals and you say, “Wait a minute. How did the kangaroos get there? How did they get across the ocean?” This is the Mesopotamian area, what’s the deal here? First of all the continents before the flood were not like the continents today. The bigger question might be after the flood and the earth was changed and the continents were formed how did the kangaroos get to Australia. And we’ll talk about that. There were land bridges but I’ll get into that later. But the kangaroos didn’t have to swim to the Middle East as an illustration. All the animals were created originally where? Where were they? In Eden. We know they were all there because Adam did what? He named them all. God gathered them all to be named and the earth had a moderate climate that was essentially the same before the flood all over the earth so animals weren’t sorted out in terms of varying climates. They were all in that same area. They had no doubt had spread around the earth but there were plenty of them there that could represent all of the species. And so they lived in enough proximity to be available.
Today we know that there are these great land bridges. The nearest one to us is the one across the Bearing Sea. That at one time were not under the ocean and no doubt even our ancestors may have come across to populate the North American continent. There are explanations like that that are quite fascinating. But He says, “You shall bring two of every kind into the arc.” Keep them alive and they have to be male and female; obviously so they can reproduce. So you say this is a major trapping expedition. No. No, it says you shall bring them it only means you shall bring into the arc. Bring them into the arc. You don’t have to go find them because the Lord is going to collect them for you. It says in verse 20, “Of the birds after their kind, the animals after their kind of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind shall come to you to keep them alive.” Just as God brought the animals to Adam to be named He brought all the pairs to Noah and all He tells him is let them in the arc. He’s gotta know what to do with them. Put them in the arc. And the idea is we want them in the arc to keep them alive with you. Just know that I’ll bring them; you’re job is to keep the door open and take them in. This is to restock the earth. All of earth’s future hope huddled under a single roof in that box. The point is to keep them all alive.
And down in chapter 7:2-3, “You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female,” and so forth. It goes on to talk about hat. The clean animals probably refers to those that were used for sacrifice and so He says take an extra measure of those, five extra pairs because they’re gonna be dying when they’re offered as sacrifices. Fill up the arc with all of these animals. The clean and the unclean were all created by God as Psalm 104:24 says. Now there’s no aquarium in the arc. The fish don’t need to be in the arch; they’re doing fine. These are the land creatures. Verse 20, Birds, animals, crawly creepy, everything that’s on the ground including insects and whatever else.
And this is a necessary instruction and then in verse 21, “As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible and gather it to yourself and it shall be for food for you and for them.” And by the way that was all vegetarian. The whole world by God’s design was to be vegetarian; the killing of animals doesn’t come till after the flood, chapter 9:3, by divine order. And we’ll see more about that when we get there.
So the reason for the flood is given to Noah because of sin. The deliverance is provided for him in a rescue ship. And the means of judgment a flood. The promise in the judgment that I’m going to make a covenant with you, a promise with you, you’re gonna have a future. When God says I’m gonna make a promise with you Noah knew he had a future. And not only did he have a future by himself and his family but he had a future in a wonderful world that was rich with creation. This was the man Noah, chosen by God, justified by God, sanctified by God, in covenant relationship to God, given a promise for the future. Picture of the man who escapes judgment.
Verse 22 closes out this section, “Thus Noah did according to all God had commanded him so he did.” He opened the door, let all the animals in when they showed up, he collected all food which is edible. A wide range of food for all the animals as well as his family and gather it to yourself, it should be food for you and for them. And he did everything that God told him. And that is the way he continues to react. We come down to verse 5 of chapter seven, “Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.” Come down to verse 9, “There went into the arc to Noah by two’s, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.” Come down to verse 16, “And those that entered, male and female of all flesh entered as God had commanded him and the Lord closed it behind him.” He just does what God tells him to do. That’s his response to everything. And that’s a wonderful confirmation of a true believer. A true believer is marked by a life of obedience, right?
Hebrews 11:7 says about Noah, “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen in reverence prepared an arc for the salvation of his household by which he condemned the world and become an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Whatever God told him to do he did it. He believed God. And God spoke to Noah in this section seven times. And he always does exactly what God tells him to do. Obedience is the mark of the true man of God. How many times has God commanded in the Scripture and His people not do what He commanded them to do. But those who really belong to Him are marked out by obedience.
So who is the one saved from judgment? It is the one like Noah. Chapter 7:1, “The Lord said to Noah, ‘Enter the arc, you and all your household for you alone I have seen to be righteous before me in this time.'” One graced by God’s favor unearned. One who believes God’s word and he is regenerated as well as declared righteous, justified, covered with righteousness, regenerated to walk with God in obedience. One who has secured a future promise and living in a present pattern of obedience.
And you know it’s no different for us. That’s the kind of person you must be to escape the judgment. We don’t need to get into a big box; the arc for us is whom? Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our arc of safety. He is the one that rescues us. Peter writes, 1 Peter 3 about the days of Noah during the construction of the arc and he says, “Baptism,” now that is emersion into Christ, “saves you. Not the removal of dirt from the flesh, not water, but an appeal to God for a good conscience for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Noah got into a boat; we get into Christ and we rise above the judgment. Jesus alone can lift His people above the waters of destruction and bring them safely to His eternal kingdom.
Let’s pray together. Father we thank You again for this great passage and for all that it conveys to us of the gospel and our glorious hope. We thank You that You’re grace and justification and sanctification we have become the people of promise, the people with a hope. We have a future. When the judgment is over we will enter into the glory of a new world because You made a covenant with us. By Your grace because You have placed us in Jesus Christ, our arc of safety. Thank You for that. We bless Your name. Amen.
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